I recently created this piece for First United Methodist church as part of their program to help provide goods to people in need. They requested an uplifting, inspirational, happy piece with the words “love one another” to be used on bags of goods for kids. So I created this illustration, using hand-drawn lettering and a few of my little creatures.
The process of hand lettering is really fun and almost like solving a puzzle, except you have to fit the puzzle pieces together AND make the pieces. I start by just drawing the words over and over in a bunch of different layouts—stacked, side-by-side, slanted, etc. At this point, I’m not trying to make it look good, I’m just getting a feel for the shapes and lengths of the words I’m using. Then after I kind of have an idea for a layout, I start focusing on the individual letters. I’ll generally start by repetition, same as in the previous step, just drawing the words over and over, changing a few details each time to see what works and what evolves. After I have a letter that I really love, I move on to the next. Sometimes I end up coming back to letters I thought were perfect, when they begin to not work with the other letters I’ve chosen. After drawing the phrase a bajillion times, eventually it just evolves into the right thing naturally! I think it’s really about just letting go, feeling where the pen moves naturally, and letting it go there itself. When you get something that really flows, it just feels right!
Above is the final drawing that I ended up with after all the different variations. I’m really happy with how it turned out, especially how the “L” leads into the “O” and the “R” crosses the “T”. From there, I scanned it into the computer and began to work digitally. I cleaned up some of the lines, and also added the white subtraction where the lines overlap to give it some depth and substance. I think it also adds kind of a retro feel to it, and allows you to see the overlapping and intertwining more clearly.
If you’re interested, I’ve got this piece up in my two shops, Society6 and InPrint! My InPrint store sells art prints, and my Society6 store has a lot of products including pillows, bags, t-shirts, and mugs as seen above. Check it out if you need to buy a gift for someone (or yourself)!
Thanks for following my work and I can’t wait to show you the exciting project I’m going to post next week!